- Handsome, compact exterior
- Handles lots of paper types
- Fantastic price
- Slower than most competitors
- Flimsy build quality
- No built-in networking option
When it comes to printers, the Canon Pixma iP4600 is about as basic as it gets these days. Baby brother to the powerful iP4500, the most affordable iP bucks the all-in-one trend in favor of an emphasis on one thing: printing.
You won’t find scanning, fax, or copying functions on the iP4600. But for general consumers, this extremely budget-friendly home/home office solution might be just the ticket – especially if printing photos is your thing.
The Canon Pixma iP4600 bears a strong family resemblance to the rest of Canon’s current Pixma line. Wrapped in glossy black plastic with faux brushed metal accents, the iP4600 is, in visual terms, what a printer for general home use should be: handsomely innocuous.
First impressions of the device suggest that it takes up appreciably less desk space than its larger iP siblings. And with everything folded up and tucked away, it’s true, measuring just 17” x 11.5” x 6” according to my ruler.
In order to use the iP4600, things get a little bit messier. The Canon’s back-side sheet feed – where you’ll want to load heavier stock like photo paper – flips up from the top deck. It demands another half a foot of under-shelf space and protrudes backwards an additional two inches or so.
Similarly, if you want to take advantage of the iP4600’s 150-sheet feeder tray for document printing, you’ll need to give the printer an additional four inches of room in front of the device.
Which is fine since the iP4600 can’t print without the front-side document output tray extended, anyway. Unlike some of the higher-end Pixmas, the iP4600 isn’t savvy enough to automatically deploy this for you if it’s closed; you’ll have to raise and lower it manually if you’re looking to save desk space.
With all trays and feeders deployed, the iP4600’s footprint winds up being much closer to what we’re used to from home-grade inkjets, consuming about two feet front-to-back with everything extended.
The iP4600’s top deck lifts up, giving you access to the printer’s printhead and five ink tanks, which slide out on command when the lid is lifted.
Lifting the top, you may also notice for the first time one thing that leaves me less than keen on this model. Flimsy plastic abounds with this printer, with the various lids and trays all feeling like they could be snapped off (too) easily. A function of the iP4600’s aggressive pricing no doubt, build quality is nonetheless lighter and less robust here than on any Pixma I’ve used in recent memory. That said, most printers seem to spend their entire life on the same shelf. If you’re not picking up the iP4600 and hauling it around, you may not even notice its slightly delicate construction.